I am a native of Nova Scotia and did my BA in History at Dalhousie University. Both my MA and PhD were completed at the University of Toronto. My first interests were in Russian history and language and from there I became interested in the Russian Far East and to the political, cultural and social interaction between China and Russia.
My first book was on the Russian railway concession city of Harbin and how over the 1920s the Chinese elite established control over the Russian population and Russian institutions.
I have two research areas. The first is Manchurian history, and the history of the colonization of Manchuria by the Chinese and the Chinese state. Along with this is the history of the Russian émigré population in Manchuria and China proper.
My second area of interest is Chinese urban history and I am currently working on a history of the 1900 occupation of Beijing and Tientsin by a multi-national army following the Boxer Rebellion.
I teach courses on modern China and Japan, a survey course on modern Asian history, courses on the Vietnamese Wars, the Chinese diaspora, and WWII in Asia. I supervise graduate students on topics in Chinese and Asian military history, Manchurian history, Hong Kong history and the history of interwar Asian nationalism.